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Monday, October 31, 2005

Unsightly dangerous erection

~ and other letters ~

My bureaucrat mole in local government sends me extracts from actual letters sent to the Leicester Council & Housing Association:

Sunday, October 30, 2005

World's best blog?

Not my headline.

It comes from Linkfilter regular, 'Psychomike' - one of its shrewdest contributors - who shares his discovery of The Huge Entity with a challenging,

"Until I'm shown otherwise, I'm saying this is the most interesting, at times controversial (for just about everyone) and brilliant blog I've come across.



no direction home

No Direction Home

I have rented the 2-disc Scorsese DVD on Dylan, which is riveting and has me pausing and fumbling for my own guitar before immediately resuming viewing.

The footage is remarkable and I gaze fascinated at the big names they've tracked down, from Dave von Ronk and Maria Muldaur to a rheumy eyed Ginsberg and some wonderful early Joan Baez.

My first album was Freewheelin' followed by his fresh-faced, crisply engineered album of the Guthrie song, 'Man of Constant Sorrow' and 'House of the Rising Sun'.

I hadn't even acquired a capo d'astro at that time, but did so. Years hence, it was pointed out to me that the 1st to 3rd frets were the original rose-wood dark, and all those above were scratched and nailed.

dylan coverI vaguely knew that Dylan had taken von Ronk's genius chording on "Sun" but had not realised that DvR had had his own plans for the song and asked Dylan *not* to use it on the album. He did, ever after which it was impossible for Dave to play his own version without accusations of having stolen it from Bob.

Wonderful rotting-toothed cackle as Ronk recounted how Dylan later found it equally difficult to play it without being told he'd plagiarized from the Burdon/Animals rendering.

And what a great sound The Band gave him.

dylanAnd what arse-holes those pathetic north-of-England "fans" come across with their nasal whinings of complaint over Dylan's 'selling out'.

Honestly, the English accent is positively the *least* attractive and convincing in which to grizzle.

I'm saved the need to further comment by knowing there's a real danger of Richard "Curry-'n'-Rice" Wells reading my burblings.

dylan at pianoRichard is a walking encyclopedia on Zimmerman, but in a mature, sharing unboring way.

The morning after I'd seen that movie - oh, what *is* its name? - I tentatively mentioned it to Richard and his first comment was exactly what had struck me:

That utterly bizarre scene (again up north) when Dylan is virtually summoned from his room down to meet the Lady Mayor and her trembling son.

Five foot nothing, jutting jaw, her cut-glass accent would have done a member of royalty proud, but what strikes one is Dylan's extreme gentleness and courtesy to this pushy crone's intrusion on his private moments: just standing there and deferring, when her would have been perfectly justified in extracting the mickey in the most churlish way.

Possibly a propos of this, my brother told me a tale of the Beatles' visit to the Philippines that I wish had been recorded for posterity.

Also relaxing, the Mopheads were suddenly summoned to a dinner with First Lady Imelda Marcos.

Back went the message to stuff it, at which the vicious harpie straightway took herself and all Manila's media to the children's ward of the local hospital where she was filmed surrounded by pathetic specimens, asking teary-eyed to camera how could anyone be so heartless and who did they think they were, etc.

Come their planned departure next day, it was clear that the lads were going to face some opposition reaching the airport in one piece.

My brother was Food & Bev manager of the hotel and had got to know them well enough during his efforts to make their stay comfortable. The appeal went out for help.

I've never enquired too closely into Busker frère's colleagues but you get to reach and keep that sort of job in a corruption-riddled town without mussing a few coiffures and acquiring a rolodex of muscle.

No sane cab company would take the band, so Pete called in a favor from some relaxing hard case soldiers of mercenary, explaining what was needed, assuring them of carte blanche  in *how* they got there, and no doubt offering copious hospitality in return.

These were guys whose lives had depended on driving murky heads of state safely and whose vehicular skills made those professional drivers in adverts look like my Aunt Vic on her daily jaunt in the Morris Minor to the local library.

As Pete later told it, the over-weight thugs commissioned by Imelda to run interference were left baffled by the level of skill and sheer malevolence they came up against in what they'd been thinking would be some easy fun: instead of running the Liverpudlian off the road, it was *they* who found themselves rammed and butted by alarmingly weighted military-style vehicles, not to mention the support convoy that seemed to block their every efforts to even get close.

"I'm not sure," said Pete, "because they never found the tyre - if you know what I mean - but I think they had a shooter in one of jeeps, firing through the boot (shades of the Washington DC sniper) that sent one of them off the bridge. After which, they kept their distance, all the while waving and threatening out the window for the chopper news crew whose footage would of course be seen by Madame who would judge the vigor of their efforts and "reward" them accordingly.

Speaking of safe distances, when Pete worked in the kitchen, he got to know Imelda's tasters.

"What do you think the First Lady is eating tonight?"

"I reckon a burger, coke and all those french fries."

As the real dish went out: "Don't you want to taste it?"

"You crazy? It could be poisoned."

Libby Story Has Legs

~ Andrew Sullivan ~

I have  heard the Sullivan name before - from sources I'm usually quicker off the mark to heed, so my loss - but this is my first close reading, on the Libby case, and the man not only makes sense but is one of the *tidiest* thinkers and writers I've come across. In addition to which, he exudes courtesy and professionalism. I must follow him more closely.

I'd been trying to gather coherent thoughts on this whole bizarre Libby case and along comes Mr Sullivan and quotes and encapsulates what I was fumbling towards.

He's spot-on over THE CHENEY QUESTION, in which he gives his,

... first take on the five counts of obstruction of justice, perjury and lying against Scooter Libby, before the press conference.

The common thread appears to be Libby's alleged determination to obfuscate where and how he found out that Valerie Plame was an undercover agent. I cannot understand why someone as smart as Libby would have taken such risks under oath, would have been so stupid, unless he felt the risks were necessary to protect someone or something. It's hard to believe, in other words, that Cheney is not somehow involved. And it's hard to believe that the indictment of Libby, and the continuance of the investigation into Rove, does not potentially lead to the highest potential source of this mess: the vice-president. Libby is now going to be pressured by the prosecutor to name others, as part of a plea agreement.

(Who's "Official A"?)

The judge assigned to his case is known for hefty sentences, putting more pressure on Libby. The biggest aspen so far may be about to turn. Which other trees may fall? I'll add one more thing: I don't believe that five counts of obstruction of justice, perjury and lying by a major administration official are a "mouse," or even a large rabbit. Not if you care about the integrity of government officials and the rule of law."

Masterly stuff.

Spring forward ... Fall back

Trivia, facts and common sense about Daylight Saving Time.

"Daylight Saving Time is a change in the standard time of each time zone. Time zones were first used by the railroads in 1883 to standardize their schedules.

According to the The Canadian Encyclopedia Plus by McClelland & Stewart Inc., Canada's "Sir Sandford Fleming also played a key role in the development of a worldwide system of keeping time. Trains had made obsolete the old system where major cities and regions set clocks according to local astronomical conditions. Fleming advocated the adoption of a standard or mean time and hourly variations from that according to established time zones. He was instrumental in convening an International Prime Meridian Conference in Washington in 1884 at which the system of international standard time -- still in use today -- was adopted."

In 1918, the U.S. Congress made the U.S. rail zones official under federal law and gave the responsibility to make any changes to the Interstate Commerce Commission, the only federal transportation regulatory agency at the time. When Congress created the Department of Transportation in 1966, it transferred the responsibility for the time laws to the new department.

The American law by which we turn our clock forward in the spring and back in the fall is known as the Uniform Time Act of 1966. The law does not require that anyone observe Daylight Saving Time; all the law says is that if we are going to observe Daylight Saving Time, it must be done uniformly.

Daylight Saving Time has been around for most of this century and even earlier.

Benjamin Franklin, while a minister to France, first suggested the idea in an essay titled "An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light."

The essay was first published in the Journal de Paris in April 1784, but it wasn't for more than a century later that an Englishman, William Willett, suggested it again in 1907."

And so forth ...

Murder UK

A literally lurid web site catches my eye.

It is posing as an "educational resource ... documenting the crimes of Murder & Manslaughter in the UK", but the design is too appalling and complete lack of color sense mark it as the brainchild of some adolescent mind.

There is a section on child killers which I check for anything remotely new or sensible on the Bulger case.

It's a hobby of mine to post on the subject and I'm always on the look-out for new sites to bookmark.

There is indeed a section devoted to Venables and Thompson but the incompetent ninny mispells him Venebals.

I suppose it could be a ploy to flush Venables out of hiding: get his name so idiotically wrong that the murderer is enraged into blowing his cover with some indignant correctionm but something tells me not.

Nothing so cunning. Just out and out sloppiness, ignorance and inadequacy for the job.

vive la france

French News Feeds

In my latest offering from the gifted and gifting ResearchBuzz, a newsy gauloise link that might be of interest to some  one:

"Mon-Actu.com, a directory of French news feeds plus a bookmark manager.

Feeds are divided into categories and are also searchable by keyword. (Though I was not able to search by keyword in Opera -- I think the page is being rendered incorrectly. It worked fine in Firefox.)

A keyword search for commerce found two results. Results include the name of the site, a link to a detail page that includes what looks to me the latest entries from the feed -- and is that page rank?

PS: On the subject of choses françaises, how's this for trying to acquire citizenship?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Blogosphere: "spouting lynch mob."

Forbes' cover story settles for the "Attack of the Blogs" angle.

According to 'blogma', we're meant to be "the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective."

Just the sort of provocation to get us tripping and spewing.

mick jagger/jeff siner, charlotte observer

Curry-n-Rice Girl

The laughter in the rafters has woken the children and they have come down to enjoy the dawn rumpus.

Hilarity everywhere as we conga through the rooms to the hit tune of the season - Curry-N-Rice Girl.

No, not the two Tims; nor Mick and Keith's cavortings, for which the clans have gathered.

It is the glorious viral video sent me by that Dapper Dhoti'd Dan, my ear-piece on the Sub, the pre-eminent Richard Wells.


"I really want to find the right girl,

I want a Curry-N-Rice girl ...

I really don't want a white girl ...."

stonesMiranda managed the New Jersey/Seatac leg, but confused Bainbridge with Bremerton and almost treated herself to an extra ferry trip.

Louisa and Philip win the coveted "Shidoobee of the Year" Award, jetting in from Norwich avec kids, which we all acknowledge as terribly grand and adds to our entertainment as we watch the princelings lord it over their American cousins with the latest fashionable Anglo prissiness.

Phil's cell phone has not left his ear - even as he wheezes and waddles to an approximation of the Curry beat:

"You like my Biodata?

B-I-O ~ D-A-T-A"

He appears to be on the phone to Hong Kong and Perth and *also* seems to be recouping the price of all their tickets in one slick deal. Louisa affects exasperation but clearly enjoys our sour-grape jealous snarls at her Alpha Male provider mate.

Louisa owns up to once having had an Indian boyfriend, which of course pricks our curiosity over his Sutric wizardry but we are silenced by her frown and curt nod in the direction of the children who are of course equally agog.

We launch into a variation about wanting a "curry and rice boy" which to all our satisfaction sends a shadow of petulance across Philip's urbane and pampered features.

Untrammel'd by even passable human good looks, and lacking any agility on the dance floor, 'Bunter' Phil escaped the fate dealt to you and me, passing his Oxbridge and office junior years free of the distractions of sex and cloying attention of acquiescent young ladies.

Instead, he invested his lonely evenings in becoming very numerate and pompous and unjustifiably rich.

stones_2L., while fitting every mother's ideal of a dutiful virginal daughter-in-law, has a "past", over which veils seem to be drawn, although rumour has it that a return visit to a certain Cambridge college and *all* Oxford May Balls are out.

But to The Concert: Press reports make clear that the lads are on form, which is more than I will be come 7:30 Sunday if this level of merriment keeps up.

I have alerted my boss to expect a certain bedragglement of appearance come my arrival around noon Monday.

rogues' gallery of Stones


  • Best local press: Gene Stout in the P-I
  • Calgary Sun - Stones keep on rolling
  • The "Bigger Bang" album
  • Bigger Bang - Wikipedia style
  • "Field of screams" - Boston Globe
  • "Stones can still do it" - BBC

  • little mjiss ten percent, georgia browne, foto: julie busch

    Georgia Browne

    Further to my trippin' and strummin' piece on Miss Ten Percent, I'm not having the BI Revue get away with dissing our belovèd Georgia by squandering space on the mobile hobo Williams.

    Besides, as with the Nezam/Kordonwy utterances, there are some equally juicy quotes that I intend to make my own and spout at the right time and place.

    matt and GB
    I read that the Dylan-y tasteful EW had his 15 mins of fame on LA Radio.

    Well, Mr Williams has a superb CD out - "Someday" (eminently worth tracing) - thanks to which he is enjoying *more* than a mere quart d'heure over in the UK's Brighton by the sea.

    A local DJ visited me a while back and could not stop playing 'Whiskey Angel', so I gave it to her to take back to educate the Brits and she apparently uses it as a bridge in between dashing off to the loo.

    fond lookEach time she does, her listeners go into paroxysms of desire to own it for themselves.

    I of course pose as Mr Ten Percent, collecting the royalty cheque(s) and assuring Madam DJ that I play the honourable agent and bank it in my client's account.

    In truth, I can see why interviewer Rhona Schwartz gave Eddie such space.

    He talks a good game.

  • "Most of the songs I've written that folks really like - the pretty ones - I can't imagine ever writing. [Wait for it] "My cynicism has poisoned the broth"
  • "I'm just another guy with a guitar ..."
  • Altho' Williams and Browne have shared a stage before, they are no duet act.

    bored couple"I don't want us to lose our identities ... We're not double-dipping."

  • "When she sings with me, the appeal of my stuff goes up 10 percent"
  • Just kidding - he said *100* percent.

    I include that shot up there of the handsome couple because I so like the fond look Georgia is giving her chap, but Busker can play tabloid with the best.

    Just as those grubby rags in the supermarket run these shots of show biz couples where they are *not* billing and cooing, I too have a contribution in the form of that snap on the right, a clearly bored EW, wishing he was back on the road again, tripping and single-dipping that cynical broth.

    As for the perfectly proportioned Browne, she is giving a clear come-on to the man behind the lens. Which suits me fine.


    Friday, October 28, 2005

    Tripping & Blogging

    A suitably sharp rap over the knuckles from my commenting Mistress Anon, accurate as ever in her scolding.

    Indeed, the aptness of her observation on mushrooming bloggers is reinforced daily across the expansive Web.

    Bravo. Suitably chastened.

    I don't know why, but even as I read her comment I was reminded of that Infinite Monkeys theory ...

    Oh, I know why - because of that decisive coup de grâce wherein some wag declared *that* particular chestnut well and truly refuted since the arrival of blogging.

    I have to confess that the champignonsense that caught Anon's eye was to have been even loonier.

    I was saluting the Oct 26 Review for being a bumper bundle of fun, not just for the mayoral stuff and sonorous names in the Letters pages, but had intended to wax further tedious and adoring over page 12's coverage (complete with that superb snap by Julie Busch) of the divine Georgia Browne and her November's First Friday set.

    little mjiss ten percent, georgia browne, foto: julie buschThe title may say that "She's 100 percent songwriter" but the piece itself is around 15% Georgia and the rest devoted to some strummer and blower called Eddie Williams, the last person I want to read about.

    Actually, as I type, if you click on the Review link and keyword in "Georgia Browne" you'll see that the mischievous Eddie has arranged for the online version to dub her down to *Ten* percent. That boy is so-o-o asking for it.

    That's what happens when one sends an interviewer with an eye for a hunk - one leer from designer-stubbled gravel-vox, a casual scrape of horny thumb across strings, and Ms Browne is out of the picture and it's all about The Man.

    I would NOT have liked to have been in Williams' shoes when GB opened her paper over the breakfast kedgeree and saw how roundly she'd been scooped.

    Yes, indeedy - the spare couch and no jam butties for *that* lost Angeleno.

    November 4th Friday Night Live

    Georgia and Eddie

    Kick-off: 7:30

    Island Center Hall, Miller Road

    Tkts avail at door: $8 adults, $5 les petits 6-18.

    Info' - 842-2306 xt 25

    Sponsors: Bainbridge Island Park & Recreation District.

    Be there.

    Thursday, October 27, 2005

    Bumper Review

    The elusive ed of our Bainbridge Review is steering a dangerous course towards one of those journo awards that can screw a scribbler's career and leave him preening 'neath laurels.

    Stunning Oct 26 edition:

    Front page fotos of mayoral jousters Kordonwy and Tooloee in such gleaming smileage I can only assume they booked the lensman who snapped Mr. DeLay for his toothy confident mug-shot.

    Q&A: Some great lines that I'm stealing from both to further my own weasely way up the corporate ladder.

    kordonwyDarlene Kordonwy

    nezam tooloeeNezam Tooloee

    With a killer name like that, for me, he's a slam dunk to start with, never mind that confident stance and gamma-ray smile.

    Plus, I am a total black-belt 6-stigmatized, ISO sucker for everything these business leaders bring ...

    Just the name: same rhythm as Dylan's 'John Wesley Hardin' ... "was a friend to the poor, traveled with a gun in every hand ..."

    NeeZAM Tooloee , biz man to the hilt,
    Forged a cool consensus with broad base ... etc

    Hypnotic buzz words in TN's Q&A:

    Whoever wins or loses, I'm much more concerned with the immediate problem of answering my Hong Kong recording label who need a name for my "group" who recorded back in the 1960's such immortal local hits as "Time can toe the line", "KGV Blues", "Shek O Babe" and "Shau Kei Wan Shuffle"

    Truth to tell, was me en tout: strummed drummed chorused n dummy doo-wahh'd the whole thang.

    Knowing how every name under the sun has been nabbed, I've instructed Moutries Records to re-issue them as being performed by Vancil Renna, (featuring Knobloch Doerschuk on lute for "No Moss on the Singing Tree")

    smoking pic courtesy of daily teleg

    Smoking con banned: "shambolic"

    Délicieux bit of dictionary whipping by the normally staid Daily Telegraph.

    And what about that accompanying graphic?

    Dear old pictures ed probably dismissed that smidgeon of poudre as Johnson's® Baby Talc spilled from m'lady's handbag.

    Likeliest caption is:

    "Soddez çela pour une alouette - I'm jolly well stubbing this cig out right here on the laquered table.

    Bloody fags, wrecking my line of coke."

    Language galore:

    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    Smoking Ban: "In disarray"

    Perhaps my belovèd Angleterre hath balls after all.

    "In disarray."

    Music to my ears: Those meddlesome farts routed.

    A large tincture called for. On second thoughts, leave the bottle on the table.

    j cash

    Johnny Cash

    From my favourite Renaissance man, Richard Wells, this superb memorial to the Man in Black, God rest and nurture his immortal soul.

    Damn, that's got to be some barnstorming strumming going down up there ....

    Quite apart from his quietly good blog, Richard was one of the few people I worked with at my last employ whom I never tired of bumping into - kitchen, elevator, passing in the corridor - and to watch him in action conducting a global conference call was to watch professionalism and humour in action.

    JC giving the fingerSome people seem to need to splatter their autobiog details around before they think they can get known - guilty, I fear - but Richard I knew no more about when I exited château d'éspair, 10:17 that sunny mid-July morning than when we'd met five years earlier.

    Typical of the man, he sent me a succinct message of good wishes following my departure, along the dour lines of assuming it was messy and appalling. Cheered me up no end, more than my lovely lady friends' flattering wailing and renting of garments or the equally faithful heavy mob who asked only for names, addresses and precise body parts to which I fancied the Black & Decker be applied.

    And yet, as the dust settled and I treated myself to thinking back, he was one of the good guys I wished I'd got to know better.

    Et voilà! I have his blog to keep the voice and humour alive.

    Do yourself a pleasure and cast an eye thereover.

    He's there in my list of fave clicks: Wells Singh.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2005

    New Brit speke: "Fanboys" n "Overdogs"

    New lingo.

    Seems there's a bunch of new words coming out of England we've yet to encounter here.

    I'm just praying they're none of them pronounced with that hideous 'Estuary' accent that was such popular affectation a year or so back.

    That would be THE end.

    Homer of the Decade list

    Accolade, d'ohh!

    Homer Simpson considered one of the top 10 men of the decade.

    "He has taught a whole generation how to take on the challenge of modern fatherhood and win - although not always with honour."

    Top 10 Men of the Decade:

  • Philosopher: Homer Simpson;
  • Sportsman: Lance Armstrong;
  • Visionary: Jonathan Ive;
  • Designer: Sir Paul Smith;
  • Manager: Sven Goran Eriksson;
  • Activist: Bob Geldof;
  • Writer: Ian McEwan;
  • Musician: Damon Albarn;
  • Chef: Jamie Oliver;
  • Scientist: Craig Venter.

  • Smokes ban: "in chaos"

    Talk about an all-purpose dream headline. Good old Guardian.

    Insert the noun of your choice for 'Smoking' and you can apply it to any  interfering Nanny state legislation.

    Nor is it one of those teasers that look glorious from afar but end up being the same old dreary rubbish about The Man sticking it to us once again.

    No, indeed.

    With lipsmacking satisfaction, we learn how,

    "The [British] government's anti-smoking legislation was in chaos last night after Patricia Hewitt [UK Health Secretary] found herself the victim of a cabinet committee revolt, leaving the government bereft of a policy two days before it is due to publish its legislation."

    In chaos ... bereft ... two days short of the busybodies cracking open the champagne. One's cup runneth over.

    Music downloads and The 'Zon

    Clever Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com fame (and wealth) talked to the UK Guardian "during a recent visit to the company's fulfilment centre in Gourock, near Glasgow."

    Quoth the gnomic visionary:

    "Digital media in general, including music downloading, is something that will be an important part of Amazon's future. It is still very early and the sales are still very small, but there will be multiple generations of digital media products."

    Monday, October 24, 2005


    Hey, hey - Get off-a my cloud

    Or get off *of* my cloud, as the unfortunate younger girl is accustoming to.

    Just as I ready the zimmer for the Oct 30 Key Arena Rolling Stones gig, an horrific article in the NYT about some geriatric Stones fanatics, the Shidoobees.

    Makes one question not only one's own taste but the whole Keef/Sir Mick scene.

    I'd ordered some cool T-shirts via my London trader that I could wear on the night and generally establish my impeccable street cred with my fellow paunchy Seattle ravers.

    HowEVAH - m'lady hostess in possession of the actual tickets has screwed that pitch by pointing out that we'd look a bit odd, me 60-yr-old mutton garbed as 1960s lamb, she sashaying in at half my age, archetypal Nat Henstridge-lookalike ice maiden - dressed in her usual prim Swiss nanny gear.

    Just the thought was grisly, so I sold the t-shirts for the price of one ticket and am now thinking of suggesting to Herself that we might as well just E-bay the actual seats and splurge on a decent nosh at Madoka followed by mild rocking sounds from the loudspeakers.

    It's not as if Joss Stone was the intro act.

    Meanwhile, a new TV show I've asked my Londoner contact to record:

    Girls and Boys: Sex and British Pop

    Sun 23 Oct, 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm 60mins

    Love Me Do

    New series telling the story of the pop music revolution of the past 40 years and how it has been driven by our very British fascination with sex and gender.

    The 60s brought short skirts, long haired men in kaftans, the pill, and legalised gay sex. This is the story of gay managers like Brian Epstein; the rise of the beat groups like The Beatles and the Stones, and the new pop girls like Cilla, Marianne and Sandi, plus a more assertive generation of screaming fans. It was the start of our fascination with camp - step forward Brian Jones and Mick Jagger. With brilliant period archive footage.



    To Madoka yester-eve for a pre-theatre bite, that new place at 241 Winslow Way previously occupied by the PB Bistro.

    Be not deceived by its sombre box-like exterior: the welcome is warm, service utterly professional, and Messrs Binuya and Gonzales have cleverly hired the best staff around.

    I hadn't booked and even at 6pm the car park was full.

    We were seated upstairs, which suited the eavesdropper in me just fine, the neighboring long table filling with a positive - "impeddyment", I believe the collective noun is - of big-time mayoroyalty

    No names, no pack drill, but hats off to Ms Kordonwy for daring to wear such a delectable white ensemble to such an ebullient gathering of vino-swigging pols.

    buskerFrom close observation, I see that La K takes after Busker Mère, able to move in such circles and events sans stain on garment or character, unlike yours truly for whom a solo dinner of omelette and modest goblet of vino in front of the tele rarely ends without mysterious and geographically ambitious stains from far-flung furniture down to my most intimate nether garments.

    Loud was the fawning laughter, expertly camouflaged the toadying repartee.

    I meant to ask the staff the meaning and derivation of the name, 'Mandoka'. My companion thought it might refer to some mysterious girl of lightning extreme mood swings, but that didn't sound likely for a posh nosherie to me so we agreed to differ and turned to the menu.

    First off, the food was absolutely faultless, up with the best I've ever enjoyed.

    The menu divides cleanly between small and large dishes and they mean it.

    Too often having fallen into the trap of ordering a starter *and* a main course and then finding the table legs bending under the first dish, Herself ordered the wood-ovened BBQ Gulf prawns ($11.00) which were plump and succulent in a sauce of precise spiciness that I think everyone will smack lips over.

    alThe helping was perfect starter size - four or five, if I recall - and so to Mademoiselle's liking that no sooner had she polished them off than she sat back with that slight pining look of the deprived urchin which was my cue to order a repeat, rather than have her sit there glowering as I grunted and splattered my way through my shank of sake-soaked lamb (a bargain at $18).

    My dish fell obediently from the bone and it's a dish I'll return to on future visits.

    The prices seem to be in that region - around the $10 mark for the petits plats and doubling for the larger offerings.

    I'll borrow a menu and append full details anon. This is a place that merits full details on which to encourage you to give it a try.

    I've worked onthe fringes of hotel and restaurant management and I spotted a steely expertise here in the choice of staff and their training.

    Mandoka could be attracting an international clientele - God knows, it can't depend on the fickle *local* diners, who seem not to place faith in anywhere that doesn't require the tedious dues of a ferry voyage to wield a well-mannered knife and fork.

    Staff: Impeccable. And with La Exquisa, Brianna, as pulchritudinous water-carrier, I guess worshippers of beauté now have as their itinerary:

    • Genial latte at Lisa and John's prior to
    • Movie madness at the Pav
    • Polished off by nosh at Madoka.

    But make it soon. B. heads off soon to model for those lucky sons of Athena.

    Décor and lay-out : Suitably and sexily low-lit - almost funereal, in fact, with bowls of candles along the 2nd-floor bar that could be destined for a merry sushi bar - but I feel for the upstairs staff over that lunatic narrow and curving staircase that scarce accommodates traffic of guests, let alone staff with their balance-act of trays.

    Once things hot up - as they will - it will be hell.

    Surely, a separate stairway for les serveuses?

    Time will tell.

    Meanwhile, full marks, and I now have a local eaterie at which to confidently dine hot dates and with honour splurge my expense account in impressive entertainment of those visiting North Carolina head-office mandarins.

    Memo to Michelin: Well worth le détour.

    Post-script: Grab your November 2nd Bainbridge Review and read Tina Lieu's excellent review [keyword 'Madoka', and admire Julie Busch's fine snap of the maestros] of "A refined dining experience" and how the Madoka 'melds local produce with influences from across the ocean.'

    Deuced interesting piece, and wide-ranging:

    • Backgrounds of co-owners chef Alvin Binuya and José G. Gonzales
    • How JGG woo'd Binuya and what José said when Binuya asked him what his Plan B was if he declined.
    • Good descriptions of the cuisine.
    • Essential data such as:
      • Open for dinner, Wed thru Mon, 5:30-10:30pm
      • Closed Tues
      • Tel: 842-2448 for reservations/further info.
    Nice turn of phrase, has that Tina:
  • "Entering Madoka is like a study in textures."
  • "The double-height, rippled golden wall ... contrasts with the restaurant's space black interior."
  • "Overlapping spirals in shades of red and orange ... "
  • "Style and mutual yen for perfection."

    Smashing. Beats my 'sombre box-like' blathering into a cocked hat.

    Of course, it doesn't matter how stylishly one works the language if drooling readers finish the piece only to collide with some depressing 'Business Briefing' about that ghastly 'Harbor Squat' eyesore now adding to its 180-unit condos with 55 parking spaces for sale.

    On which point, good letter from Alfred Kitching on page 5, dishing it to the mega-complex and neatly segueing into why Nezam Tooloee with his "measured and proactive" approach "has the background, experience and record to move us in a direction that will preserve our quality of life while accommodating reasonable growth."

    Mr 'broad-based consensus' Tooloee gets AK's vote in November. As does he mine.

  • "Own a movie for less than a movie ticket."

    The motto of the enticingly named Scilla Andreen, interviewed with business partner, Gian-Carlo Scandiuzzion, on their clever idea for IndieFlix.

    Read all abaht it, page 27, Arts&LEISURE section of the NY Times, or online via your free-registered access to John Anderson's piece about how, "Once It Was Direct to Video, Now It's Direct to the Web".

    The business sounds a bit like our own Bainbridge Island cloggery on the building front: what with cheaper technology and "a seemingly inexhaustible hipness quotient", more filmmakers and films are crowding the scene resulting in costlier distribution cautiouser outlets, returns on investment more dubious.

    So what about more general fare? I hear you cry - them with no stars, budgets or hope?

    Enter IndieFlix:


    Sunday, October 23, 2005

    Blogs as storefronts

    Credit where it's due.

    Kicking off the morning with my usual skim of Findory, I see that Real Lawyers gets yet *another* mention. Good going!

    This one's for spotting Intuitive Life Biz's take on blogging and fronting.

    By coincidence, the work webistas have recruited me into some think-tank expected to come up with snappy hors-de-boîte ideas on this very topic.

    I thought for a moment a smidgeon of elbow grease might be required, but I see now how to plagiarize, disguise and burble informèdly before my boss, not to mention earn the sulky admiration of those urbane and coiffed media consultants.

    Saturday, October 22, 2005

    Rara Aviana

    I was actually only aiming for alarmism, talking of the 'flu winging it over to civilised parts.

    I didn't mean for the pythonesque Brits to wheel out the old dead parrot sketch ...

    Nor is it reassuring when the usually sober Financial Times comes up with a headline about human 'flu preparation looking like costing billions.

    So ... the "global community will need to spend at least 'several hundred million dollars' to prepare for a human flu pandemic in the months ahead", eh?

    All eyes, I guess, on that Nov 7 Genève meeting of

  • The WHO
  • World Bank
  • Food and Agriculture Organisation
  • World Organisation for Animal Health
  • 300 experts and political figures "deciding how to respond to the threat."

    Impressive. Widest ranging meeting on preparations, neatly timed for the aviating 'flu's spread from Asia to Europe, alerting "the world to the risk of a variant of the virus mutating into a form lethal to humans."


  • Sixty people confirmed dead from the H5N1 virus.
  • Experts saying it's "only a matter of time before a pandemic based on the current strain or a different one emerges, which could kill millions and cause widespread economic disruption."

    That's all right then - at least the field's narrowed somewhat: "the current strain or a different one."

    Irony: The first sighting of Avian flu occurred next door to where the first foot-n-mouth disease was uncovered.

    Look out for Europe banning live-bird imports

    International Herald Tribune: Every state for itself.

  • Useful free tools on the 'Net

    The sort of stuff I get asked for by distant cousines and geek-aspirante daughters: kleeners, tweakers, erasers, et ilk.

    Bread-and-Butter Letters

    My Christmas starts in late October. Not just because I need the time to think up clever (i.e. cheap) prezzies for my far-flung family and loved ones, but because I prefer the long and happy build-up over the crushed feeling at seven minutes past nine on Christmas morn, when the wrapping paper lies strewn, the forced gasps of orgasmic gratitude delivered, and the contents of all those thrilling shapes under the tree anti-climatically revealed.

    I have my gift list ready, my card list Visio'd and Excel'd, and I have my Non  Gift List equally prepared.

    Ten months of the year, I am an inveterate gifter, spotting bijou items that I fire off to the perfect recipient.

    Most reply, too many do not. I've had it with the non-responders.

    I was raised to send bread-and-butters letters, those prompt and polite acknowledgements of gifts or hospitality received. My saintèd mother is Grandma Bountiful personnified and she carps at *me* over her grand-daughter's inability to put - what's that implement? Ah yes - pen to paper to say Ta.

    "If only to let me know that it *arrived* safely!"

    "Mum - I *know*"

    One Christmas i simply bundled all Corfu-sent prezzies into the attic and sat back to enjoy the action.

    Barely had the last festive wrapping hit the floor than our younger was asking me for a stamp sufficient for Greece. Why so?

    "I want to let Ya Ya know that her presents didn't arrive"

    "But no, my pretty. You never let her know when her bounty *did* arrive, now you sweat it out."

    Pucker of angelic features, quiver of deprived cherubic lips.

    This Yule I shall *not* be sending to those from whom I got not even an email of thanks for the gew-gaws and perfect données I've mailed over the past months.

    On the topic of b&b lettres, I once won a short story competition on the topic, beating off some pretty distinguished pros, I might add.

    It told of a humorless fellow who preferred to write his letters of thanks *before* the event, when expectation lent fire to his gratitude and expectation.

    Nothing pulitzerian:

    "Dear Lady ffrontispiece, Thank you *so* much for the marvelous dinner last night, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

    Delicious food, as usual, and you (also as usual) looking in the pink of health.

    And what a wonderful mix of guests! As usual, I talked far too much and hogged all the pretty girls - I hope Lord ffrontispiece didn't find me too  much of a bore, asking him to show me the latest additiosn to his model railway - it really is a splendid operation he has there in the Pink Room ... and so forth."

    One day he meets a sweet young thing who joins him in this escapade and very soon the game takes a dangerous turn as they start to compete with every-more daring ploys:

    Him: Dear Hugh and Maureen - Great party ... I think. Really, H should never have produced that second bottle of Metaxa. Miranda tells me I ended up singing 'Tom Dooleyt'. Ugh. ... etc"

    Her: "Mo', you cow - Amaazing 'do'. Sorry about the accident with the wine -they say baking soda and Port is good on lace.

    Of course, I got hell from Himself for flirting with you-know-who but .... what are parties for? Tell me he's not serious about that bint he was with ... yadda yadda."

    They would mail their respective notes en route and the 'winner' would get some indeterminate prize.

    It ends, of course, in catastrophe which I will not spoil for those prepared to hunt down the bound collection of the top 20 scribblings.

    So carried away did I become with the idea that one evening I was boasting to my circle that this is how I behaved in real life. Indeed, had pre-mailed my b&b missive for the party we were currently attending.

    Despite coughs and jerking eyebrows, I labored on in my boastful fib til a nudge of a tray in my back revealed the hostess carrying round nibbles, and who had of course heard every word.

    Never had a guest paid more attention to the festivities than I did that night.

    "Dear Ann - Thank you so much for last night. I did so enjoy myself and it was wonderful to see so many old friends: Petronella looking so grown-up in her Claude Sablon blouse and I loved her hair in that pixie cut.

    Tom tells me that you're thinking of selling the Lee-Elliott gouache - might I put in a bid?

    When I said that I was thinking of moving to Beltram, Turner that was entre nous . Their current creative director doesn't actually know his post is free (!), so Mum's the word.

    Live music! What a treat - and gosh Ronnie has come on with his piano lessons. Scriabner is one of my favourites and he was jolly brave to tackle the minuet.


    I'm reminded of all this by Slate's take on the Miers notelets, with which I totally sympathize.

    Finally, a killer tip my mum passed on and which has earned me many brownie points: send flowers *before*, rather than turning up with the Chelsea flower show in one hand and a bottle of plonk in t'other. That way madame hostess can have them arranged and resplendent as part of the décor.

    This gem of advice came from a capo di capi  of the Hong Kong underworld, a man of bulk and polish who never fell foul of the law.

    A complete nobody, I once performed this trick on a peeress of the realm whose radiant dinner I was attending as a suitor of her daughter.

    No sooner had I arrived and exchanged air kisses with la jeune than she scolded me with:

    "You're such a bore. Mummy demands to meet you all because of your stupid flowers."

    Dragged through the turkey-necked aristos to meet "Mum", I was duly thanked - "I've no idea *what* you're doing with my daughter, all she knows is oiks and the moost  plebeian riff-raff."

    Turning to her husband, "Henry, this is the young man I was telling you about, the one with the terribly clever idea of sending flowers beforehand so that Cook had time to arrange them in advance."

    Summed up and seen through in a trice, I bent low to his lordship.

    "So you're the flower toady? What's the game, then? You some sort of fairy, what? Eh? Hrrmph?"

    The No Asshole Rule

    I am a sucker for business books.

    I pounce on each new one, put every bit of back-stabbing, self-serving advice to ruthless best use - and am universally loathed among the cubicles.

    Rob Sutton's delivery of The No Asshole Rule sounds a 'must' for my 2007 bookshelf.

    Friday, October 21, 2005

    Sexist French bashes women creativas

    I'm talking about the great Neil  French, copywriter supreme and galactic creative honcho (or is he now ex- ?) of the WPP Group.

    He has riled folks with comments about the failings of women in advertising, and Nancy Volk, herself no slouch in this field, has snapped back.

    I used to glimpse NF in Hong Kong and environs, and attended all his seminars and made sure to sip VSOP at all his favoured bars from Sydney to Shaukeiwan, Baguio to Barker Road.

    He was nothing but provocative and, out East, it's like breathing in and breathing out to appear sexist.

    Wonderful description of Neil as, "a man from an era and geographies that reinforced that the role of women should be reserved for pleasing the men, marrying them, bearing and caring for their offspring."

    Oh dear, precisely my roots and everyone else's I grew up with in the far east, privileged sons of robber barons, scions of some great hong , or simply off-spring of dedicated civil servants ....

    No wonder when we brought our colonial savvy back to set up our own fragrant harbouring homes, we knew *exactly* where gweilos  like Neil were coming from.

    Thursday, October 20, 2005

    joan rivers

    Darcus and Joan

    What the listeners heard

    One of those Wish-You'd-Been-There moments:

    Skeletal harridan Joan Rivers and burly broadcaster Darcus Howe going at it hammer 'n' tongs - right there on the Beeb.

    darcus howeDarcus Howe had said that he would talk of *Caribbean* children, "... since black offends Joan."

    Joan Rivers "Wait. Just stop right now. Black does not offend me. How dare you. How dare you say that. Black offends me? You know nothing about me. How dare you."

    Howe: "The use of the term black offends you."

    Rivers " The use of the term black offends me? Where the hell are you coming from? You have got such a chip on your shoulder. I don't give a damn if you're black or white. I couldn't care less. It's what the person is. Don't you dare call me a racist. I don't know you. I want an apology."

    Libby Purves "I don't think it was personal, Joan."

    Rivers "Oh, I think it was, when someone says the term black offends Joan. I will not sit here and be told that. How dare you say that."

    Howe "I think this is a language problem."

    And so forth.

    Absolutely first-rate stuff. I can just imagine Howe's rolling vowels and the jut of those pugilist brows.

    Whatever he's selling, he'll be the toast and talk of the land. Whatever she 's selling, she may as well catch the first plane back to where she belongs.

    I know the old country's gone to the dogs, but surely people haven't been reduced to tuning in to listen to the likes of her ?

    (Clearly not, since not one of my pals seems to have heard it, altho' they all wish they had )

    Excellent - everyone's jumping on the race wagon. I may keep a tally:

  • Baltimore Sun
  • "Reality Radio"
  • LA Times
  • Rivers: So bored of race - Daily Telgraph
  • Black jibe, blue rage - The Times
  • Slanging match - Scotsman
  • Rivers of vitriol ... gripping radio - (who else?) Yorkshire Post
  • "Son of a bitch" - The Sun
  • "Who are you calling racist?" - The Independent
  • And so on and so forth ... quel brouhaha ... priceless PR for both parties.

  • kilburn sunset

    Kilburn Sunset

    Pal snaps the last light of day from her kitchen and waves of nostalgia and homesickness wash over me.

    Would I not know those rooftops anywhere?

    Those chimney stacks?

    Of course, if I was  to be bundled back to Blighty, none would rail louder than me against the dirt and surliness and general all-round un-Bainbridgeness of my old new surroundings.

    What they say, the sky is always purpler ....

    Arbiters of Cool

    Splendid hackle-raising headline and article in ever-cool FastCompany.

    Cool Runnings

    Cool hunters are more than just streetwise fad spotters. Here are three blogs from arbiters of cool that offer insights and inspiration for innovation.

    WHO WRITES IT: Brand consultant Piers Fawkes, creative director Simon King, and their trend-watching entourage
    WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: While it rarely identifies original trends on its own, PSFK does a good job of rounding up global cool news and cool businesses, spotlighting trends such as photo-flirting (teens swapping mobile-phone photos) and hair graffiti (shaved and dyed hair designs). Check out its Cool Hunt group on Flickr, which asks readers to photograph their versions of cool.

    BLOG: Cool Hunting
    WHO WRITES IT: Josh Rubin, a former user-interface designer for Motorola, and his band of 10 contributors
    WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Because drinking Pabst with hipsters at after-hours Brooklyn bars is exhausting. Instead, tap into the cool-kid consciousness by reading Rubin and his cohorts--classic cool hunters obsessed with gadgets, T-shirts, and of course, Puma and Nike. Although perhaps best suited for those in the fashion biz, Rubin's blog helps anyone tap into maven culture.

    BLOG: Ypulse
    WHO WRITES IT: Anastasia Goodstein, manager of viewer-created content at the new cable channel Current, of which Al Gore is the chairman
    WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Goodstein, who has been involved with youth content at Oxygen and AOL (she hasn't always worked for the guy who created the Internet), uses her youth-oriented eye to round up news on what's cool with teens. She does have some help: Julia and Katie, two Silicon Valley teenagers, chime in with their finds.


    Blogger Scoble

    It's an unusual enough name to stick in the recess of a memory.

    I seem to recall a Scoble or Scobie being mentioned in despatches awhile back.

    Wish I could remember by whom - Clint Sharp?

    Anyway, the current issue of Microsoft Executive Circle carries an interview with a bloke of that name.

    The article's titled Everybody’s doing it!, and the 'it' seems to be blogging, so it sounds to be the same chap.

    Does anyone know what this Scoble/Scobie cove looks like? Is that him up there looking like some hearty rugby-coaching assistant chaplain?

    He's interviewed by a Megan Santosus, and I suppose I ought to quote a chunk to lure you to click and read further.

    Hard to come up with anything that actually stiffens the sinews and gets the blood pumping, but this might set a misleadingly alluring tone:

    "Scoble roams the halls of Microsoft with a camcorder and posts the video interviews he conducts with developers. As for process, “there are no filters and little editing,” Scoble says. “I’ve established a relationship network, and generally I get invited to interview the developers.”

    And while Scoble still maintains his personal blog—and even occasionally criticizes Microsoft there (as he did recently over the company’s position on a gay rights bill)—he says neither he nor his bosses have issues reconciling his dual roles. “I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do the blog at Microsoft if I hadn’t established credibility and relationships on my personal blog,” he notes."

    I know. Nail-biting stuff.

    Peddy Posters - Version II

    Cunning billboards, set up to seem  transparent.

    Just the thing to cover the island in for his next  foray into politics by Inspector-General William K. Peddy, BA.

    Will be interesting to see who's the *more* transparent - posters or the pol.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2005

    Pumpkin Dude 1

    Pumpkin Dude Rides Again

    No sooner do I lament the squishing and squashing of Pumpkin Dude than lo! he riseth to spook again.

    Someone behind that red door is being totally hard-core Halloweenist and refusing to let passing vandals get the upper claw.

    Imagine my sorrow the following morning, shuffling past with rheumy orbs averted from what I feared would be a grisly sight of strewn pumpkinnery across the sward sepia dude... mais non!

    I almost sprang from my Guccis at the sight ...

    Was this not an even ghoulisher  création ... spooky arms waving ... and just look  at that sinister stance - Frederick Krueger never leaned more menacingly ...

    Expect monitorings and regular reports on this intriguing spectacle 'twixt now and the 31st ....

    PEye_Bush cover

    Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    A Signal of Readiness

    Extracts from a Times piece that caught my eye from the new book by Lynne Truss - she of the punctuation guide.

    Talk to the Hand is LT's take on courtesy:

    "We are not invisible to one another. The problem is that people are increasingly unwilling to admit when they are out in public, that they are not nevertheless — through sheer force of will — actually in private ...

    When they are on trains, or in the street, or in a queue for taxis, they can’t say the courtesy words because to do so would explode their idea of the entire experience, which is that they are alone and that nobody else exists ...

    Politeness is a signal of readiness to meet someone halfway; the question of whether politeness makes society cohere, or keeps other people safely at arm’s length, is a false opposition. Politeness does both, and that is why it’s so frightening to contemplate losing it. Suddenly, the world seems alien and threatening — and all because someone’s mother never taught him to say “excuse me” or “please” ...

    And I lump the internet into this subject because it is the supreme example of an impersonal and inflexible system which will provide information if you do all the hard work of searching for it, but crucially:

  • a) doesn’t promise anything as a reward for all the effort;
  • (b) will never engage in dialogue;
  • (c) is much, much bigger than you are; and
  • (d) exists only in a virtual kind of way, so never has to apologise.

    It seems to me that most big businesses and customer service systems are either modelling themselves on the internet or have learnt far too much from a deep reading of Franz Kafka. Either way, they certainly benefit because our brains have been pre-softened by our exposure to cyberspace. Our spirits are already half-broken. We have even started to believe that clicking “OK” is an act of free will, while “Quit” and “Retry” represent true philosophical alternatives ...

    Are some of us extending our personal space an unreasonable distance — basically, for as far as the eye can see or the ear can hear? Why don’t we accept that being out of doors means being with other people who do things we can’t control? Yet our hamster balls just keep clashing with other people’s hamster balls, and it isn’t comfortable. Academic friends say their students answer calls during lectures. Lovers lolling on the public grass on a sunny day glare at you if you look at them ... People chat in the cinema during a film. It’s as if we now believe, in some spooky virtual way, that wherever we are, it’s home."

  • Mangled Shakespeare

    ~ sluices of joy ... sorrow in the human heart ~

    Clever idea of the Guardian to dip back in the archives to reproduce a review from October 1843 of The Tempest.

    Spendid period phrasing such as,

    "Indeed, it has rarely been our fortune to hear Shakespeare so mangled by any actor as it was on this occasion."

    and, in an amusingly snobbish misunderstanding of the rôle of Trinculo, where the critic

    " ... must caution this actor against his coarse tricks, which savour more of a sawdust arena than of the boards of a theatre-royal."

    Blog design mistakes

    Leafing thru Findory, am impressed to see mention of the 'Real Lawyers have blogs' blog.

    RLHB has spotted pointers on blog design goofs, which apparently include

  • Absence of biog or author pic
  • "Nondescript posting titles"
  • Burial of "classic hits", and
  • Mixing Topics

  • All-time 100 Best

    Controversy time.

    Time mag's 100 best:

    Oct 23 follow-up: Speaking of bijou, the Time piece has proved its worth by providing a vehicle for the tireless Matthew "Yeti" Baldwin to compile his "best of the worst … about the best: excerpts from actual one-star Amazon.com reviews of books from Time’s list of the 100 best novels from 1923 to the present."

    Very clever, expertly sifted, extremely funny.

    Science Fiction Covers

    Oodles of the blighters.

    A true sci-fi buff's dream.

    Plus, how it was made.

    Monday, October 17, 2005

    Bill Maher

    Must be a thread going round.

    People keep mailing me his closing lines from last Friday's show, Oct 14.

    "Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you any more. There's no more money to spend--you used up all of that. You can't start another war because you used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people. Listen to your Mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit cards maxed out. No one's speaking to you. Mission accomplished.

    Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service and the oil company and the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or space man?

    Now I know what you're saying: there's so many other things that you as President could involve yourself in. Please don't. I know, I know. There's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela. Eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote.

    But, Sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised that you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man. Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire city to rising water and snakes.

    On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans. Maybe you're just not lucky. I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it cou! ld be if you were on the other side.

    So, yes, God does speak to you. What he is saying is: 'Take a hint.' "

    Iraq envoy's tell-all memoir blocked

    Good old British Foreign Office, blocking publication of The Costs of War memoir by senior diplomat, Jeremy Greenstock.

    I guess the chaps don't like the way Sir J calls the conflict 'politically illegitimate'.

    Comments Sir J - Britain's UN ambassador during the build-up to war in Iraq:

    "My personal view is that it might be worth saying what I want to say rather than being censored to blandness."

    Mensa Invitational

    The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational asks readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

    This year's 2005 winners:

    1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
    2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
    3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
    4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
    5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
    6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
    7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
    8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
    9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
    10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.
    11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
    12. Karmageddon: Its like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.
    13. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
    14. Glibido: All talk and no action.
    15. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
    16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
    17. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
    18. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

    Pumpkin Dude

    Walking down Ericksen, I spot this impressively sprawling gentleman adorning the porch of a house I'd previously only noticed for its dilapidated appearance rivaling even that of Château Busker.

    pumpkin guy_1But someone has done a fine job here, arranging m'sieur into a life-like slouch and even surrounding him with authentic Halloweenery down to a spooky gossamer web arrangement.

    The house looks almost as lifeless as the straw figure, but I do not approach to snap a close-up.

    When I return an hour or so later, the Pumpkin Dude is crumpled flat out on the lawn, his head missing except for a squish of orangerie across the bare lawn.

    Not even the humblest work of craftsmanship these days escapes the ravages of wanton vandalism.

    Sunday, October 16, 2005


    Now there's  a juicy moniker for a nation that loves putting numbers to everything.

    Like, "9/11", without which most Brits would still be unaware that we date the wrong way round on this side of the Atlantic.

    And now H5N1.

    Sounds particularly good in a southern accent, and it won't be long, I fear, before it's sounding alarums in *any* sort of accent.

    At present, it's largely met with bovine - make that avian - bewilderment or outright dismissal.

    Post scriptum: The always pertinent 'Chele comments with two effective links:

  • Effective Measure, with its "Et Tu, Greece" report (now confirmed).
  • And, proof that anyone not worried to heck is simply very  badly informed, Flu Wiki

    Since it's in the news, no point missing out on a bit of touristy touting: Chios is rather a nice isle, gifted with a surprisingly cool site. Rather unGreek for some of the techniques used.

  • And why not a pic gallery of Oinousses itself? After all, who would have heard of it had it not been for H5N1 (or however the Hellenic press have it).

  • Saturday, October 15, 2005


    Can one be made to give $$ back?

    I have transferred it to my Greek bank account where even *I* can't reach cash easily, tho' it seems that mom's gardener and butler and kyrios Tom Cobleigh and all can adjust their wages at whim.

    Animal Practices

    Bulger batterers Thompson and Venables are really  in hot water now.

    That bastion of decorum and taste, The Sun, has discovered that Rob Thompson “practised” on animals.

    If master Venables got a duffing up, that'll be nothing compared to what animal-rightist Brits will wreak on junkie T.

    I advise him to quit animal-loving Britain and move henceforth to Italy or Greece where they have these 4-legged creatures in some sort of perspective.

    True or not, who cares? What a great headline, "Fiends start on animals."

    Robert's the one getting free methadone on the state to ease his craving for heroin; Venables is the unfortunate what gone done over where he shouldn't not 'ave been.

    Meanwhile, I hear from my mole in a certain booksy warehouse that the fictionalized Boy A is not speeding off the shelves and onto discerning bookshelves.

    For anyone wondering whence I get this oddball press coverage, I am sent them by a devoted reader who knows how to cover "her" IP tracks.

    Not that I'm interested in tracing Ms "Deirdre" but I have pals in my old alma mater , Coercia. com ("Customer Care-sses for the gentry"), who *know* about these things and react predictably when I mop my brow and sigh, "Really, don't bother. It's too hard - even for you."

    Down goes the mug of tequila, onto the Busker PC, pretty soon they're murmuring gibberish into cell phones, "Hey, man, I'm running a ping on XYZ and I'm getting a ABC. C'n you gimme a read on DEF? I'm getting as far as GHI n then it's giving me a JKL.

    No, I'm at a buddy's and he needs to trace some mail."

    All the while, I'm dancing around in the background assuring, "No, really, Jason - it's OK. I know how impossible these things are."

    "Is all cool, dude. We gone crack this one. Hey, can ya pass me my glass?"

    "But of course."

    The next piece in the jigsaw felt aslant into the piece when I was entertaining a policier pal over from Blighty and we fell to discussing the Bulger case and I showed him the mails from "Deirdre".

    "This is a member of the Force. But not a woman. See here? The wording? This is pre-1980 fuzz-speke and no WPC would be using it.

    I'd be prepared to bet this is someone who served overseas and was then transferred out of the Met, but don't quote me."

    Friends in knowledgeable places. I bet the News of the Screws don't have that sort of analysis going for them.

    On the other hand, I'm afraid they do.

    Friday, October 14, 2005

    Pinter wins Nobel

    Home Improvement for Dummies

    Handyman tips for 4-thumbed dullards like me.

    Mayhap for you, tho' I doubt anyone's as cack-handed as moi.

    Sink declog, par exemple.

    Yet another goody from the incomparably Good Experience.

    Thursday, October 13, 2005

    Physics of guitar design

    Fascinating article for us strummers and even more so for local luthiers ...

    "A guitar is like a woman ... but it is also, to a physicist, like a bunch of pendulums connected by springs: It is a system of coupled oscillators. The first oscillator is the string, but a plucked string doesn't move enough air to emit much of a sound. So the bottom end of a guitar string is attached to a hardwood bridge, which transmits the vibration to the top plate, which transmits it to the rest of the guitar, which transmits it to the air in and around the instrument. Together these oscillators augment the string's feeble output and make it audible."

    Mike Gaffney's square guitarNo sooner do I find this article than into the Friday Bageleria lopes guitar craftsman Mike Gaffney with his bizarre rectangular 'Bo Diddley' création.

    I find the frets oddly spaced and cannot play anything on it, although it has a nice action and the square body sits well on the lap.

    Jim Griswold on Gaffney weirdo guitarThen island newcomer Jim G takes it up and ripples effortlessly through a sprightly rag, no prob with the frets whatsoever, damn the fellow.

    But I digress from the article's chat about oscillators and feeble output. It appears that,

    "Their coupled motion patterns are very complex, and each note on the guitar corresponds to a particular pattern. But each vibration pattern is made up of a sum of simpler vibrations, called modes.

    Play an F sharp on the bass E string, for instance (or a G, or G sharp; it depends on the guitar), and the whole instrument will swell and contract like a balloon, albeit indiscernibly, with the top and back plates moving a few microns closer and then apart, roughly a hundred times a second. About an octave higher--at the fourth, fifth, or sixth fret of the D string--the top and back plates move roughly twice as fast, at 215 hertz or so, but now they move in parallel, forward and back at the same time. Another octave or so higher and the bottom end of the soundboard inflates, while the neighboring area next to the sound hole deflates, and vice versa."

    Now you know ... and there's more like that.

    Roll over Segovia, indeed ...

    Booker Banville Buffoonery

    Best epithet for this year's wrangling?

    "Controversial"? "Safe"? "Eccentric"? "Grotesque"?

    I wasn't going to post on this but the argy-bargy is worth sharing.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005


    Grotesque, clever Photoshop grenouill-èse.

    If the production values weren't so excellent, these would be the stuff of nightmares.

    Carlos Cabana

    I make sure to read Chip's Binary Circ because his antenna ranges wide and ever-surprising.

    His posting on dollish Carlos is a classic.

    I forwarded the link to gay Nikos in straightish Corfu and he of course replied sans delay, protesting at the name:

    "Kristos! Please tell, Is no way 'Carlos'. Is Ahmed. And that body way he stand - no way he gay. Just beef pastry doesn't know posturise.

    I met your mother in town, who looks well.

    Have one Cabana for me."

    Dear Nik. I met him while bartending in Corfu during the building of my parents' house when there wasn't room for elder son, so I roomed at the Bogdanos Hotel for bartending n guitar plucking rent.

    Up glides sculpted N n asks for a drink for him n his buds - and one for me.

    I'd just discovered Cabana which I polluted with colas, so that was my poison.

    On hearing my taste. Nik's eyes glowed and he asked me if I'd seen the label on the bottle. I hadn't and looked nervously at it,

    "I'm sorry. CabaÑa, is it?"

    Ribald Greek laughter which at the time I didn't understand.

    "No - the picture on the bottle. You have seen?"

    I hadn't, not that closely. More ribald laughter.

    Nik: "Is 'gay' drink?"

    Me: "Well, perhaps. Yes, I do get happy after a few more belts, but I've only just started."

    Genial ribbing, they sit down, I strum un peu, more orders, more winks and squeezes of cheeks and puny bronzed arms.

    Challenges to come clean and out myself.

    Around 11 pm, my parents arrive after sumptuous dinner free of hanger-on elder son.

    Nik's table leaps up and everyone embraces mama and bows low to dad. Old pals.

    Mum advances on me and gives maternal hug.

    Nik: "You know this boy?"

    Mum: "He's my son"

    Confusion and much mockery from Nik's pals.

    N: "But I think he gay."

    Dad: "Perhaps you could convey that to the seemingly changing array of young ladies he entertains in our pool."

    Ever since then, whenever Nikos has visited spiti Holmes, it's been big hugs and a "Your usual Cabana, Nik?"

    I always gaze on the Cabana in the local likker store with fondness.

    Note to Nikos: Yassou philos mou! Ti kanis? I said I'd get you into my βλωγ in the end.


    Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    Literature Nobel announcement due Thursday

    Woot! Those Scandiwegians' antics get better and better.

    No sooner does Making Trouble mention Stephen King in the same breath as the Nobel literature gong, than it starts sounding as if the 'Bard of Maine' really *is* involved:

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